International Climate Protection Fellowship

Country
prospective leaders and postdocs with climate expertise
Residence
non-European developing and transition countries
Country
12–24-month project in Germany

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The closing date for the current application round is 1 March 2021.

Fellowship for prospective leaders working academically or practically

Are you a prospective leader working academically or practically in climate protection or climate-relevant resource conservation in your home country – a non-European developing or transition country (see list of countries, PDF)? Then we invite you to apply for an International Climate Protection Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

If you are a prospective leader you will do a one-year research-related project in Germany as part of your fellowship; if you are a postdoc, long-term academic research (12-24 months). It should focus on combating climate change, adaptation strategies, preserving ecosystems and biodiversity, or on the sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Sustainability topics relating to natural resources, resource-efficient consumption or urban development are also welcome.

We award up to 15 International Climate Protection Fellowships to prospective leaders and up to five to postdoctoral researchers each year. The fellowships are funded through the International Climate Initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Our sponsorship

The fellowship facilitates the mutual exchange of knowledge, methods and techniques with hosts in Germany; this also extends to questions of practical applicability in your country of origin. We offer you

  • a monthly fellowship of €2,170, €2,470 or €2,670 in the programme line for prospective leaders – depending on your training and career level; a monthly fellowship of €2,670 in the programme line for postdoctoral researchers
  • individual support during your stay in Germany
  • additional financial support for example for accompanying family members, for travel expenses or for a German language course
  • a three-week introductory event where you can connect with other climate protection fellows, visit businesses and research institutions, and attend cultural events in Germany
  • extensive alumni sponsorship, in particular to support long-term connections with your cooperation partners in Germany over the duration of your entire professional career

Host institutes receive a monthly allowance for research costs of 800 euros for projects in the natural and engineering sciences or 500 euros for projects in the humanities and social sciences.

You must meet the following criteria/What is required of you

As future decision-makers and multipliers, you aim to take on the global challenge of climate change through international, cross-border cooperation. We invite you to apply for an International Climate Protection Fellowship if you

  • explore questions in the natural or engineering sciences or address legal, economic, health-related or societal aspects of climate change
  • are a citizen of a non-European developing or transition country (see list of countries, PDF) and have been predominantly living and working there
  • completed your first academic degree (Bachelor or comparable degree) no more than 12 years ago (cut-off date: 1 March of year of application)
  • have initial experience in a leadership role and corresponding leadership skills
  • are a prospective leader with extensive professional experience (at least 48 months at the time of applying)
  • are a postdoctoral researcher with a successfully completed doctorate in climate protection or climate-related resource conservation and have been published in academic journals and by academic publishers peer reviewed to international standards
  • have very good knowledge of English and/or German

How to apply

Before applying, you should agree the details of your independently developed research-based project with your chosen academic host.

Please submit the necessary application documents to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online only.

  • research-based project: Outline the project you have developed yourself and agreed with your intended host prior to applying. Bear in mind that the following criteria are important for selection: a convincing choice of methods; clear focus and feasibility; relevance to the fields of climate protection or climate-relevant resource conservation; feasibility of conducting the project at the chosen host institution; practicability of the communication strategy
  • extensive statement including confirmation of support from your host in Germany
  • two letters of recommendation (not more than 12 months old) from individuals who can provide information on your professional, personal and/or academic background

The online application form contains links where the letters of recommendation and statements can be uploaded. Please forward these links to the relevant individuals as soon as possible. We will send you a confirmation e-mail as soon as we have received all the required documents. If you have any doubts or questions, please contact us by e-mail (info[at]avh.de) before submitting your application. We are happy to help.

Timeframe: application, selection, fellowship

Icon Applicants
Applicants
Icon Foundation
Foundation
Icon Notification
Notification
Application procedure Fellowship
  • Programme announcement September/October
  • Application deadline 1 March
  • Selection Meeting September
  • Intensive German course in Bonn January/February
    • may be preceded by German courses in own country
  • Introduction meeting March
  • Individual project work April - February

Please note

The closing date for applications is 1 March of each year.

The Selection Committee aims to issue invitations to suitable candidates by early July for a multi-day selection meeting held in Germany in September, where applicants have the opportunity to present their proposals. An independent Selection Committee will choose the fellowship recipients at this meeting.

You may not apply if you have previously received funding from the Humboldt Foundation.

Please note: The call for proposals is subject to the allocation of corresponding funds to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

All the best for your application!

Questions & answers

No, a language certificate is not required.

In the case of multiple degrees, the valid date is the completion date of the first Bachelor's (or comparable) degree.

We go by the date stated on your diploma. The key date for calculating the period after your first university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) is the application deadline of the ongoing selection round (1 March).

We cannot consider your application if you completed your first university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) more than twelve years ago. The key date for calculating the period after your first university degree is the application deadline. If you have just passed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). Please send us your CV so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

In case you do not yet possess sufficient professional experience in the field of climate protection or climate-related resource conservation (at least 48 months at the time of application), you may still apply if you hold a further academic or professional degree in the above-mentioned fields at the time of application. You may apply for an International Climate Protection Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers if you hold a doctorate or comparable academic degree (Ph.D., C.Sc. or equivalent) in the field of climate protection or climate-related resource conservation, completed less than four years prior to the date of application or until 31 August 2021.

Periods in which you interrupted your professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) in order to rear children may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such periods is also possible. Please always indicate child-rearing periods when filling in your application form.

Mothers can claim two extra years for each child born after their first academic degree plus any further verifiable parenting periods. Fathers and other persons responsible for raising children are only credited with verifiable parenting periods.

In general, you may apply if you completed your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) less than 12 years before the beginning of the fellowship. Recognized child-rearing periods may correspondingly extend this maximum timeframe during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Periods in which you interrupted your professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives, or due to long-term illness may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such career breaks is also possible. Please always indicate career breaks when filling in your application form.

Job hunting and unemployment do not count as career breaks.

In general, you may apply if you completed your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) less than 12 years before the beginning of the fellowship. Recognized career breaks may correspondingly extend this maximum timeframe during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of the previous career is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent).

The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your previous career.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of the previous career is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent).

Job hunting and unemployment do not count as career breaks.

The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your previous career.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

The aim of the programme is to enable prospective leaders working academically or practically from abroad to come to Germany to conduct a research stay here. Applicants should therefore be living and working in a non-European developing or transition country at the time of application (this also applies if contracted with institutions in Germany).

Eligible applicants must have lived in an eligible country (list of countries, PDF) for a minimum of 12 months in the 18-month period prior to submission of the application.

If in doubt, please contact us before you submit your application so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

No, an application for an International Climate Protection Fellowship is not possible. If in doubt, send us a seamless CV so that we can then advise you (info[at]avh.de).

Applicants must provide proof of their knowledge of German if this knowledge is necessary to ensure that the research-based proposal can be implemented successfully. Otherwise you must provide proof of good knowledge of English (language certificate required).

The academic host can be anyone who works at a public or private institution in Germany (university, research institute, public authority, non-governmental organization, ministry, company) and is able to agree that he or she will be your mentor during your proposed stay. In order to ensure that the host in Germany is able to act as mentor, he or she must have a professional relationship to the specialist area of your planned proposal and must be able to provide a workplace for you. In case the academic host is not authorized to provide a workplace, the host’s confirmation of support has to be signed by his or her superior (e.g. executive director or director of the institute).

You are free to choose your own academic host in Germany. The Humboldt Foundation does not provide any direct support in finding a host. You can, however, find information on our page Advice on finding a host or start your search for potential host institutions in Germany via the project data base of the German Federal Environmental Foundation, the GERiT – German Research Institutions, the Klimanavigator and the link list provided by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

The host's main responsibility is to provide the right conditions for the successful completion of your proposal in Germany and to mediate the necessary contacts to other partners or institutions. The role of the host can vary depending on the requirements of your proposal and can range from regular contact to close collaboration.

Of course you can cooperate with other partners, institutions etc. in Germany during your stay. You can however only have one official host.

Applicants for the International Climate Fellowship Programme for postdoctoral researchers may carry out their projects with two hosts. If the hosts work at different research institutes, they must each provide a host's statement and confirmation that research facilities can be made available.

The host institution will receive an allowance amounting to 800 EUR per month for research-based proposals in the fields of natural sciences and engineering, and 500 EUR per month for proposals in the humanities or social sciences.

No, the fellowship is not meant to support company employees who intend to work at German headquarters or branches. Applicants suggesting a project that includes an inhouse-training have a rather low chance of success.

No, it is not possible to apply to several fellowship programmes or the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award programme concurrently. Should you be rejected by any of them, you may, however, apply to any other programme as long as you fulfil the formal requirements.

No, the International Climate Protection Fellowship is awarded in order to implement the research-based proposal, which has been chosen by the fellow and agreed upon with the host. By accepting the fellowship the fellow commits him- or herself to the objective of the fellowship during the duration thereof.

 

During the sponsorship period, fellows may conduct short-term research visits to institutions in other European countries if this is necessary to implement the research-based proposal successfully. The maximum duration should be 1 to 2 months. Further information: Europe research stays.

If the fellow’s own institution does not cover travel expenses, the Humboldt Foundation will pay a single lump sum for return travel. The Humboldt Foundation will only pay travel expenses for family members in exceptional circumstances.

In principle, it is possible to file parallel applications. You must, however, indicate this on the application form and inform us immediately of any other applications you submit and any other sponsorship decisions that occur while we are considering your application.

Yes. The complete application package must be received by 1 March.

There is one Selection Meeting per year. The Humboldt Foundation will pay a travel allowance and provide accommodation and meals for the duration of the meeting.

The fellowship enables prospective leaders working practically to spend a year in Germany to implement a research-based proposal and postdoctoral researchers to implement long-term research proposals (12-24 months) at a German host institution.

The following timetable is mandatory for all fellows:

January - February 2022: Intensive German course in Germany (optional)
March 2022: three-week introductory seminar at several locations in Germany
April 2022 – February 2023: Work on individual proposals
June 2022: Annual Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, including reception by the Federal President of Germany
Autumn 2022: Two-week study tour through Germany
January/February 2023: final week, including reception in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

For postdoctoral researchers afterwards: continuation of the research proposal for the period applied for, individual trainings and participation in programme events of the Foundation (optional)

 

The intensive German course can only be taken immediately prior to the start of the fellowship.

There is no obligation to take part in a language course. The Humboldt Foundation strongly recommends that all fellows who know little or no German participate in the two-month intensive language course.

No. The fellowship must be taken up in accordance with the programme timetable.

The Humboldt Foundation welcomes the idea that fellows´ partners and children should accompany them and encourages this by paying family allowances in addition to the fellowship, provided that the family members accompany the fellow for more than three months.

Your letter of motivation should contain information about your relevant personal and professional qualifications as relating to the fellowship. It should further describe the personal and professional goals you wish to pursue with the fellowship.

  • The proposal must contain the following information: subject, methods, aims and bibliography of the planned proposal. You are further requested to draw up a schedule including milestones for the funding period.
  • You must independently draw up this schedule and agree it with your intended host in Germany before submitting your application.
  • Please also explain what results you expect and how these are relevant to climate change (in terms of reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and conserving of biodiversity in a changing climate).
  • We also ask that you outline how you intend to publish the results of your proposal during and after your fellowship, and what target groups you particularly plan to address.

Please request letters of recommendation from two people who can give well-founded accounts of your professional, academic and personal background as well as your leadership skills, e.g.

  • your current supervisor / mentor
  • previous supervisors / mentors

All postdoctoral researchers should ask for an expert review written by their doctoral supervisor. The second letter of recommendation should preferably be written by a reviewer not working at the applicant’s own institute.

Please note: The host’s statement is not considered a letter of recommendation!

After the respective closing date it is unfortunately not possible anymore to submit an application online. In this programme applications by email, post or fax are not permitted.

You can only submit your application once. It is, however, possible to save your application and return to it as often as you like prior to submission. Please note, however, that your complete application must reach the Humboldt Foundation by the closing date at the latest. Incomplete applications may be excluded from the respective selection round.

The host uploads his/her statement as well as  the confirmation of support in a secure area of our online platform, adding them to your application form. You can find the link to this area in the application form. Please send this link on a timely basis to the designated person. Once all the documents have been uploaded, you will automatically be notified by email and will then be able to submit your application. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete. Please draw your host’s attention to our list of questions for the host's statement (PDF) and the required confirmation of support.

Your expert reviewers upload the required documents in a secure area of our online platform, adding them to your application form. You can find the links to this area in the application form. Please send these links on a timely basis to the designated persons. Once all the documents have been uploaded, you will automatically be notified by email and will then be able to submit your application. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

Expert reviews should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

Certificates in German, English, French, Latin, Spanish or Italian do not need to be certified. If your documents are in any other language, you must provide certified translations. A translation agency, for example, can assist you with certified translations.

You may apply if you have completed your doctorateless than four years prior to the date of application or until 31 August of the respective selection year. Sponsorship during the doctorate is, however, not possible.

The relevant date is that of completing the final academic part of the doctoral process (e.g., defence of thesis, doctoral viva). This date will usually be included on your doctoral certificate alongside the date of issue. The key date for calculating the period following your doctorate is the date on which your application is received by the Humboldt Foundation.

The International Climate Protection Fellowship programme is aimed at prospective leaders who are active in the field of climate protection and climate-related resource conservation either in academic or practice-oriented work in their countries of origin. The programme is structured according to a fixed schedule including training components (see “What is the timetable of the fellowship?”). The Humboldt Research Fellowship programme is more suitable for basic research, while the Georg Forster Research Fellowship programme is targeted at academics from developing and transition countries wishing to conduct research with relevance to development. In case of doubt, please contact us for advice before submitting an application (info[at]avh.de).

Your application must contain one to three key publications. Other publications will not be accepted (exception: You may optionally submit published reviews of your key publications by other authors).
If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

No. Please only cite publications that are already in print, have been accepted for publication or have at least been submitted to a publishing house. Please cite submitted publications without naming the journal or publishing house on your publication list. In the latter case you must include the acknowledgement of receipt from the publisher; in case of publications that have been accepted, please include the letter of acceptance from the publisher. Any other works cited on the list will be deleted.
Exception: Your dissertation may be cited as a key publication even if you have not yet submitted it to a publisher. If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

You yourself should choose the key publications from your publications. You should choose works which present your most important academic results. In cases of multiple authorship you should select those to which you have made a major contribution. When choosing key publications we recommend including works that reflect your more recent publication activity.
Please note that you cannot amend your selection of key publications once the selection process has begun.

If you are already holding or currently doing a PhD, you have to choose at least one key publication. You may cite a maximum of three. Surplus key publications will be removed from the list without notifying the applicant.

Please address the particular academic relevance of the results contained in the key publication and briefly explain the significance of the publication for your academic profile (cf. Sample key publications, PDF). In cases of multiple authorship please also indicate your own personal contribution to the publication.

Yes. Please cite all your publications in the complete list of publications, including your key publications. The unpublished dissertation, however, may not be listed in the complete list of publications. In this list the key publications should be cited without explanations (cf. Sample publication list, PDF). Please note that the order of the authors on the publication list corresponds to the order of the authors on the submitted publication. Changing the order is against the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and may result in penalties (cf. Rules of Good Scientific Practice, PDF).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

Yes, shortly after submitting your application online, we will confirm the receipt by email. Due to the number of applications, we cannot confirm the receipt of further documents separately. If, however, important documents or information should be missing from your application, we will notify you.

After evaluating the application documents, an independent expert committee will decide which applicants will be invited to a Selection Meeting in Germany, which lasts several days. The Selection Committee is composed of domestic and international experts from all fields and votes on applications by simple majority. The Humboldt Foundation office has no vote on the Selection Committee.

At the Selection Meeting applicants have the opportunity to explain their proposal to the Selection Committee and their co-applicants in a short ten-minute presentation and to present themselves to the Selection Committee in an individual interview. The interview lasts approximately 30 minutes and is conducted in English or optionally in German. The Selection Committee will ask questions focused primarily on your professional or academic background, your expertise in the field, your proposal, your interest in Germany, your career plans as well as the significance the requested fellowship in Germany will have for your further professional career.

In each selection round, the best applicants will be selected for a fellowship. Approval or rejection of an application is always directly related to the qualifications of the other applicants. Those candidates who are not invited to attend the Selection Meeting and their respective hosts will receive a notice of rejection in the course of July. The Humboldt Foundation does offer individual feedback to all rejected candidates who attended the Selection Meeting.

Your academic and professional development and performance to date, your leadership experiences as well as the expert reviewers' information regarding your leadership skills and future potential will be at the centre of the evaluation. Further evaluation criteria are the quality, originality and relevance of your proposal for issues of climate change as well as opportunities for collaboration with the chosen host institute that will arise from your proposal.
In addition, for applicants holding a PhD or currently doing a PhD the academic qualification as well as the innovation potential of the proposal for the further development of the subject area play a central role.

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, a new application makes sense only after you have entered a new phase of your professional or academic development. Submitting a new application that differs little or not at all from the rejected original may result in a formal rejection of the new application.
Please note that applicants, who have already participated twice without success in the Selection Meeting of the International Climate Protection Fellowship Programme, will be rejected on formal grounds in case of re-application.

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